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The Simon Rumley Trilogy

 

Strong language (2000)    The Truth Game (2001)   Club Le Monde (2002)

 

 

Advertised and numbered as a trilogy but actually sold individually, Jinga Film’s triad of DVDs presents the assured early “indie-feel” Richard Linklater-inspired works of British director Simon Rumley whose subsequent works from THE LIVING AND THE DEAD onwards took on a darker, slicker turn (including one of the best shorts of THE ABCs OF DEATH).

STRONG LANGUAGE (2000) has a convincing documentary feel as its deceptively loose pre-9/11 ruminations of sixteen young Londoners – on everything from debt, the club scene, drugs, beer, racism, cynicism, AIDS, the London Underground, and Soho – are eventually revealed to provide the cultural context for the narrator’s (David Groves) interspersed account of a horrific event that befell his girlfriend and himself one night and its fallout. While one can presume that the story was fictional (or at least a fictionalized account), it is genuinely surprising when the young Londoners are revealed in the end credits to be actors – including Stuart Laing (TV’s EASTENDERS) who would next appear in a larger role in THE TRUTH GAME – with scripted dialogue (less so as the viewer digests the two subsequent films in the trilogy). A keenly observant writer and director, Rumley doesn’t pass judgment on the sometimes pretentious, elitist, arrogant, selfish, irresponsible, and shallow opinions of the interviewees – nor does he suggest that something like the aforementioned horrific event could only happen in such an environment – rather, the stated beliefs of these “characters” provides a richer sense of setting than the director could have likely dramatized (as proven in the trilogy’s third entry CLUE LE MONDE).

Rumley’s follow-up THE TRUTH GAME (2001) – the best and most mature of the three – is a more intimate ensemble comedy of bad manners as writer Eddy (Stuart Laing) and his wife Lily (Selina Giles, RESTORATION) throw a dinner party. The guests include yuppie couple Charlotte (Tania Emery, who appeared in all three of the films in the trilogy) and Dan (Paul Blackthorne, LAGAAN: ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA) and Alex (Simone White, HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS) and Alan (Thomas Fisher, THE MUMMY RETURNS) from the other end of the social spectrum. The evening starts off bad since all of the couple are either thoroughly annoyed with their significant others and their friend’s partners, or they’ve got secrets that they’re not ready to disclose (although one doesn’t see how a dinner party might not be a good place to spring her news). Even before the titular “truth game” – which is actually a party game in this context – polite dinner conversation has degenerated into vulgar jokes, impressions, animal noises, a little coke-snorting, and “who’s tits do you wanna suck?” and Eddy may be understating things when he suggests that playing “the truth game” with partners and friends inevitably ends in tears.

In the premiere documentary, Rumley describes the film as being about the disconnect people have between their perceptions at twenty-one of how they will be at thirty and how they end up (successful, settled, cultured, and current); and at least four of the six people at this dinner party are play-acting at being adults. Lily is keeping up appearances, but her husband is an unemployed writer who doesn’t want to sell out but deals cocaine on the side (which Lily takes pains to overlook even when he’s supplying Dan in between courses). Their playing house in an “under renovation” home of a friend who is currently abroad. Charlotte and Dan are thoroughly disgusted with one another (he has murderous fantasies about her and she is already seeing someone else), and even the sweetest of the couples Alex and Alan can only talk around their devastating secret for so long.

CLUB LE MONDE (2002) offers up a night in the life of a string of characters and intersecting storylines illustrates the cross-section of life encountered at the titular West End nightclub. There’s a love story between Mike (Brad Gorton, GET REAL) and Ali (Allison McKenzie, 16 YEARS OF ALCOHOL) torn apart by jealousy and their own insecurities. Each of the lovers has a comic sidekick: Jacqui (Dawn Steele, THE DEBT COLLECTOR) and Steve (Daniel Ainsleigh, QUILLS) whose advice isn’t always wise. The owner of the club Danny (Frank Harper, LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) is shacking up with the wife (Lyndi Oliver) of his brass-knuckled partner (Bruce Byron, HOLD BACK THE NIGHT). Bouncer Mosh (Tony Maudsley, VANITY FAIR) is the butt of so many jokes and scams, he’s thinking of going back to school and becoming a lawyer. There’s a pair of well-spoken underage “public school” kids Andrew (Tom Connolly, UNDOCUMENTED) and Patrick (Tom Halstead) trying to score Ecstasy and cocaine. Throw in a trio of drag queens (including THE TRUTH GAME’s Thomas Fisher), a lesbian (Wendy Wason, who also had a small role in THE TRUTH GAME) who dances in her bra and wonders why men hit on her, a guy who wears his “sunglasses at night” (Danny Nussbaum, THE COTTAGE), and Yas (Emma Pike, THE AFFAIR OF THE NECKLACE) and Kelly (Tania Emery, STRONG LANGUAGE) who spend the entire evening in the restroom snorting coke, and you’ve got a busy night.

CLUB LE MONDE seems very much like the setting where STRONG LANGUAGE’s climax could have occurred, and its seems as though something along those lines might happen as the various stories come to a head in the climax; but CLUB LE MONDE is a warm, funny portrait of young people “working for the weekend” (some of them may be reprehensible, but they’re human). The three of these films grouped together and watched one after another – along with perhaps the more personal THE LIVING AND THE DEAD – demonstrate a greater talent than suggested by Rumley’s latest shorts in THE ABCs OF DEATH – although that was one of the better if not the best episode of twenty-six – and LITTLE DEATHS; and one eagerly anticipates his return to features.

  - Eric Cotenas


 

directed by Simon Rumley
UK 2000

Theatrical Release: 28 January 2000 (UK)

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DVD Review: Jinga Films / MVD Visual - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Jinga Films / MVD Visual

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:20:03
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Jinga Films / MVD Visual

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 12:06)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:39)
• Trailer for 'Club le Monde'

DVD Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Jinga Films' single-layer disc features a non-anamorphic letterbox transfer of this almost fourteen-year-old PAL DV-originated production. Like Criterion's treatment of PAL video works like COLOSSAL YOUTH, it appears that Jinga has slowed down the framerate to 23.976 (and compensated by adjusting the pitch) to achieve a progressive NTSC image. The results are good given the older master, and one or two flashes of tape noise and occasional aliasing are probably part of the original master or even the original recording (given the faux-documentary approach, it is not a distraction). The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix only comes to life with the title music and a couple stings, but the film is about 95% talking heads with little to no sound effects or other musical comment.

The only substantial extra is a featurette shot at the National Film Theatre screening. Rumley reveals that he had originally been casting for another feature that fell through. Several of the actors are on hand and discuss the inspirations for their characters (including Ruth Purser and Charles De'Ath who are thankfully very different from their hilarious caricatures in the film). The disc also includes trailers for the film and CLUB LE MONDE (also available from Jinga Films). Although the disc is numbered volume one in what has been labeled as both the "Simon Rumley Trilogy" and the "Youth Culture Trilogy" from Jinga Films, the three films are only available separately.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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directed by Simon Rumley
UK 2001

Theatrical Release: 20 July 2001 (UK)

Reviews                              More Reviews                               DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Jinga Films (The Simon Rumley Trilogy) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Jinga Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:18:09
Video

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Jinga Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Simon Rumley
• Premiere Featurette (4:3; 10:36)
• Trailers for 'Club le Monde' and 'Strong Language'

DVD Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

Shot in Super 16mm with Dogme-style pre-lit locations, THE TRUTH GAME has a rough and gritty look that is perhaps appropriate given the artifice of the elegant setting. It too appears to derive from an older non-anamorphic master - presumably the same one used for the UK DVD release - but has also been thankfully converted to progressive 23.976 NTSC (with pulldown for monitors that don't support the framerate). The occasional black spots are part of the processing, and the edge-enhancement probably dates back to the original master. Given the look of the production and the age of the master, it zooms into 16:9 well enough.

Director Simon Rumley appears on a commentary track. He reveals that the main shooting location belonged to a property developer who was considering getting into film production (they were allowed to do anything with the rooms since he was going to renovate it, and the half-finished look adds to the character of the setting). The exteriors were all guerilla shoots - including a lengthy tracking shot with pages of dialogue - after midnight in locations like Notting Hill. He also points out his devices like the leit motif associated with each characters as they see themselves in a mirror (highlighting their self-perception). He also goes into detail about the film's autobiographical aspects, and also expands upon the film's characterizations by describing deleted scenes as well as unused ones.

The disc also includes a featurette of the film's premiere with comments from the director, producer, and actors about the script and the strenuously short shooting schedule. Trailers for the other two films in the trilogy are also included.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Simon Rumley
UK 2002

Theatrical Release: 11 October 2002 (UK)

Reviews                               More Reviews                           DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Jinga Films (The Simon Rumley Trilogy) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Jinga Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:19:18
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Jinga Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Simon Rumley
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:16)
• Outtakes (4:3; 6:42)
• 'Club le Monde' Premiere (4:3; 3:22)
• Stills Gallery
• Trailer for 'Strong Language'

DVD Release Date: 20 August 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Shot in Super 16mm and blown-up to 35mm, CLUB LE MONDE is the best-looking of the three films in the Rumley trilogy despite the aged master. It's also the best-sounding, as well as having the most extras.

Director Simon Rumley is on hand for another audio commentary, which covers the usual bases about the shooting, how scenes were reworked during shooting and in post-production, and his inspirations; however, it's most helpful in explaining the idiosyncrasies of club life to those of us unfamiliar with it. Also included are a handful of outtakes including variations on dialogue scenes which allows us to hear the onset recording before the music was added (because of the film's energy, one forgets that all of the dialogue scenes in the club would have to be recorded without the omnipresent club music). As with THE TRUTH GAME, the premiere featurette is a bunch of sound-bytes from the actors. A still gallery and trailers for the film and STRONG LANGUAGE fill out the package.

I'm not sure the US disc compares to the British releases, but one of them came with a soundtrack CD and was reportedly an anamorphic transfer.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 





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